12 / 20
A handout of the European Space Agency ESA shows a visualisation of Mars, created from spacecraft imagery. ESA's first mission to the Red Planet is Mars Express. It comprises an orbiter carrying seven scientific instruments to probe the planet's atmosphere, structure and geology, including a search for evidence of hidden water. The main spacecraft will also release the UK's small Beagle 2 lander to gather and test rock and soil samples on the surface. British space probe Beagle 2 failed to broadcast a signal on December 25, 2003, to confirm it had landed on Mars, but scientists said they were waiting for a second contact opportunity later on Thursday. REUTERS/Ho/European Space Agency ESA

What to Read Next

The surface of Mars

September 17, 2012

Close-up views of our neighboring planet.